(velvet spiders, social spiders, buck-spoor spiders)
(animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra >
Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata
> Arachnida > Araneae
The Eresidae include
groups with very diverse lifestyles. The various genera can be identified by
their different but specific webs. They are harmless to man.
The family can be recognized by a blunt face and
rectangular carapace with 4 median eyes grouped together while the 4 lateral
eyes are widely spaced. The cribellum is situated ventrally just anterior to the
spinnerets in the form of a cream band. The abdomen is round to oval and the
legs short and stout. All eresids are terrestrial (ground living) except for the
arboreal (plant living) Stegodyphus.
The most commonly seen genera are Gandanameno
and Dresserus to which the common name velvet spider applies more
specifically. They are bulky spiders up to 18 mm in length and normally
covered in black velvet-like setae (hairs) (hence the common name). The abdomen
is similarly coloured or speckled with cream or the spider can also be brown.
Velvet spiders are found under rocks or bark
resting in a sheet of dense white silk and are often confused with baboon
spiders. They can live up to 5 years. The female rarely leaves her retreat and
feeds on prey that she overpowers if they wander too close to her hide.
Genera indigenous to southern Africa
- Miller, J.A., Carmichael, A., Ramírez, M., Spagna, J., Haddad, C.R.,
Řezáč, M., Johannesen, J., Král, J., Wang, X.-P. & Griswold, C.E. 2010.
Phylogeny of entelegyne spiders: Affinities of the family Penestomidae (NEW
RANK), generic phylogeny of Eresidae, and asymmetric rates of change in
spinning organ evolution (Araneae, Araneoidea, Entelegynae). Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution 55: 786–804.